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First Paper for Contemporary Ethics, Barry University, Phil 368, Jacksonville, Fl. For Prof. Dixon
All first papers are due at the beginning of class, Thursday, January 19 at 6 p.m. All students are required to attend
this class. Anyone showing up late will get an automatic full grade point deduction. Anyone turning in a paper after
that class gets a full two grade point deduction. All papers will be at least four FULL pages long (you can go up to
six pages if necessary). Anything – REPEAT - anything less than four complete, double spaced, pages results in an
automatic full grade point deduction.
The papers will be type-written (no hand-written accepted), double spaced, paginated (meaning page numbers)
and stapled. The student’s name will appear on a cover sheet. You can provide a title of your paper if you wish.
The point of this paper is for you to provide a clear defense of one theorist over others or analysis of intertwining
theories demonstrating command of theory.
All papers must be written in a clean style that is properly spell-checked. Your sentence structure, spelling and
grammar will all be judged as part of your grade. Every student must turn in a hard copy of your paper. Electronic
submissions will not be accepted. You also must provide appropriate citation for research material through a
bibliography and footnotes.
The first paper will be worth 300 points in your 1,000 point possible total. The grades will be based upon the
student’s comprehension of the theories, creativity and reasoned and rational construction of a position.
You have suggested paper topics below and we will be addressing philosophical components of the subjects of
euthanasia and abortion from the reading material assigned to you in the primary text. NO PLAGIARISING from any
other sources, though you may attribute support material from other sources if you wish. An act of plagiarism
results in a ZERO and potential additional discipline from the university.
Going into your paper, remember there is a general outline of organization that you should consider while writing
this assignment. Some reminders on how to formulate a paper and keep this outline in mind:
1) THESIS STATEMENT: Explain what you are going to do and spell out whose side you are taking from the
2) Defense: After your thesis statement, go right into your defense. Defend your position. Explain why you
are favoring one over another.
3) Opposition: After your defense, go into the examination of the position you see as inferior or lacking
compared to the one you favor. You should give consideration to that position you oppose but drive
home why you do not favor it.
4) Conclusion: Basically recap what you’ve just covered. Provide some closing comments and this is your
final point in driving home your thoughts in this paper. This involves explaining your closing thoughts.
Remember: You should be able to support your positions with quotes from the philosopher or position in question
with citations. Use quotes poignantly and equitably.
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Here are some suggested topics for a paper and make sure you note there are two pages of topics and you are to
consider both of those pages and read them before making a choice for your paper:
In the EUTHANASIA chapter, theorist Tom L. Beauchamp discusses justifying physician- assisted death and the
distinctions between “killing” and “letting die.” J. David Velleman makes a case that is against the right to die.
Contrast and compare the two and determine if you can consider any additional counter-arguments against both
of their theories. Ultimately, you must choose which theorist you support and explain why.
Also under Euthanasia, John Hardwig posits that we must consider “Dying at the Right Time…” and duties involved
in dying in order to lessen suffering not only for the person about to die, but others as well. Felicia Cohn and
Joanne Lynn, on the other hand hold that the duty is not to die, but society should recast and prioritize the duties
of caring for people while they are alive. Contrast and compare these theories and consider if there are additional
counter-arguments that are not included in either essay. Ultimately, though, you must choose a theorist(s) to
support and explain your reasons.
Under the Abortion chapter, Don Marquis comes up with an analogy that he calls “Future Like Ours,” to support a
pro-life stance. Judith Jarvis Thomson comes up with her own analogy about a person who is kidnapped and then
forced to help a musician by being medically attached to that person as a means to support a pro-choice stance.
Compare these nuanced analogies and how they fold into the abortion debate. Ultimately, you must choose a
theorist to support and explain your reasons.
Margaret Olivia Little argues for the moral permissibility of abortion. There are some direct contrasts to Don
Marquis’s theory of what he calls a “Future Like Ours” in his opposition to abortion. Get into the nuances of both
of these theories and explain how they are actually similar in some instances, yet vastly different in others. You
must choose a theorist to support and explain why.
Abortion and euthanasia arguments have similar threads in both debates. But there are also differences and
nuances that don’t apply equally to both branches of the debate. Using theories from the essays we have covered,
explain some of those theories and how they are similar on both sides and how they differ. You are to look for
consistencies among some of the theories and possible inconsistencies as part of your critical analysis. Choose
which side(s) you find yourself coming down on and supporting.